January 31, 2012
Last night, I had the privilege of being the guest of Gov. Bill Haslam at his State of the State address. Overall, the governor's budget proposal is positive for the University of Tennessee, and we appreciate his support for higher education and acknowledgment of the value of increasing the percentage of Tennesseans who have a college degree. Gov. Haslam noted dramatic growth expected in the need for college degrees for future jobs - more than half created in the next decade - and asked legislators to help encourage greater numbers of Tennesseans to pursue college education.
The governor's proposed 2.5 percent salary increase for all state employees, including UT employees, is very welcome news, as is restoration of matching dollars for state employee 401(k) programs.
Of $264 million proposed to fund capital outlay projects in higher education, the following were recommended for the University of Tennessee:
Recommendations for capital maintenance include $32.255 million for 12 UT maintenance projects that were part of our request.
Finally, the governor's proposal also included money to fund positive outcomes of the Complete College Tennessee Act, something we have supported since the law's passage. Several complicated details are involved in how the budget funding ultimately is determined, including exact non-formula impacts. We will update you as our financial team completes those calculations.
Gov. Haslam noted his approach is based on encouraging Tennesseans to "believe in better." We wholeheartedly agree, especially since the University exists to make the entire state better for all Tennesseans. We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature in the budget process going forward, and we will keep you informed as it progresses.
You can watch an archived webcast of the governor's speech here: http://forward.tn.gov/stateofthestate/
All the Best,